Who’s Your Favorite Star Wars Heroine?
For whatever reason, I’ve ended up watching the original Star Wars trilogy (and the good prequels/post-trilogy movies) around this time of year, for the past 20 years. In my mind, December is a time for trilogies. By January 1st, I will have also watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy, as well as the Indiana Jones trilogy and Nic Cage’s unofficial trilogy of Awesome (The Rock, Con Air, and Face/Off.) Working from home has its benefits, I guess.
I mean, it’s a foregone conclusion that Han Solo is the greatest male hero in the Star Wars franchise. Sure, Luke Skywalker may have his stans (don’t we know it, after The Last Jedi) but…come on.
After a (few) glasses of wine, I posed the following question on the Overlord Slack channel (again, working from home has its benefits): Who is your favorite heroine in the Star Wars universe?
The answers were pretty evenly split between Leia, Jyn, and Rey, and Joelle even stood up for Padme, because “Padme was a bad bitch until they killed her off because of a broken heart.”
Look. I love Leia. I have a hand-drawn portrait (not by me, so it’s actually really beautiful) of her hanging in my living room—she is a badass who managed to maintain autonomy, despite George Lucas’ insistence that she can’t wear a bra in space, because REASONS; or that she must turn into a slave girl to a slug man, and wear a skimpy (and simply impractical) bikini to basically appease the men in the audience—but my heart belongs to Jyn Erso. Jyn is the best.
Leia grew up as part of a noble, ruling class—undoubtedly with money, and status. That afforded her the privilege of a certain outlook on life—that things would somehow work out in the end, because they always do. Money and status tend to help that. That instilled in her the power of hope, which has carried her throughout each movie she’s been in.
Jyn, on the other hand, had her mother brutally murdered in front of her as a young child, and saw her father carted away by the Empire. She grew up raised by a Rebel extremists where she was given no special treatment, and expected to pull her weight—all the while living on the fringes of society. Hope wasn’t in Jyn’s vocabulary.
What I love about Jyn is that she did the right thing, not because she thought the outcome would be better—but because that’s just what you do. You fight bad because it’s bad, not because you want good to win—because in Jyn’s experience, good doesn’t win out, but that doesn’t mean you don’t try.
…and when the end finally came for her (like she always knew it would), after she tried so hard and did such good work, she didn’t despair. She stared death straight down in the face—never turning away (unlike Cassian.)
I love that scene, even though it wrecks me. I love a strong woman who, even in defeat, refuses to give an inch.
Jyn (and her team) are a major reason why the Death Star gets blown up in Star Wars, and yet she’ll never get to live free from their tyranny. Life isn’t fair. Jyn knows this, but it doesn’t stop her from trying.
The difference between her and Leia is that Leia always had hope, which informed her decisions. Jyn had none and managed to find the strength to get the job done, despite its absence. That takes an incredible strength of character.
Jyn did her absolute best, and it still ended in her death. She always knew it would end like that for her, because it did for the people who she loved—but she still fought. That’s why Jyn is my favorite—she went into it knowing the cards were stacked against her, and that luck would run out eventually, but she did it anyway.
Honorable mentions obviously go to Rey, Admiral Holdo, and Rose Tico; but especially to Malla, who is raising Chewbacca’s son, Lumpy, and putting up with his dad, Itchy (and his Wookie porn habits.)
Header Image Source: Lucas Film
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